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Alumni Profile

Samantha France

Samantha France

BA Media Production (TV & Radio) 2010

Samantha followed her dream after graduation and now works in the television industry. Winning the Undergraduate Fiction award at the prestigious RTS Student Television Awards 2010 for the film she created with Anthony Dugdale while at university set her up for a career in the industry.

Originally from the North East, she currently works in London as an Archive Researcher on a Channel 4 second series called ‘ It was Alright in the...’ which is an archive show covering different eras from the 60s through to the 90s.

“I'm currently working on the 80s reviewing TV shows and adverts, noting down the most important footage to use for our show”, Samantha explains.

Due to the nature of her job Samantha usually hops from one production company to the other so she us always on the hunt for new work.

“Being freelance is difficult in television and that’s why making contacts is so important! So always put 100% into your short contracts as you never know where it'll lead (hopefully to another job!)”.

Since she started her career five years ago she has held different roles as Celebrity Booker, Production Coordinator, Forward Planner and Researcher on different shows. The last one was at Mentorn Media for Channel 5 series 'Pets Make you Laugh out Loud' as a Researcher where she was looking for new viral animal videos and hunting for stories for VT Packages that will be slotted into the show.

“I have arranged USA shoots for these VT’s and not only do I do this but I also make sure everything has been cleared, delivered and ingested in the edit so the producers in the edit have all the clips and videos in their suites ready to cut with!”

Before working at Mentorn Media she worked on a documentary about the late comedian Bob Monkhouse: The Million Joke Man for UKTV which has been her favourite project to date.

“During this project I overlooked the edit and worked with Master Archive footage, some of which now doesn’t even exist in Archive houses like ITN or the BBC. I also got to handle real archive like diaries, scripts and Bob’s famous joke books. Working with this sort of Archive got me to help with shoots to make sure we had footage of it all for our show!”

Samantha loves reality TV and the raw/unpredictability of it and the uncertainty of situation outcomes. She recalls a great moment when she was working on Big Brothers Live Team in 2013 and hadn’t been trained to work with cue cards for a live show before.

“ I had an hour to edit, print and sort the cue cards for Brian Dowling which sounds easy but it was launch show and I basically had to ‘wing it’ which was pretty scary! I was working up until the last minute before the show went on air and I had to run to Brain and give him the cue cards and we were live immediately after that.”

Samantha is now used to work with tight deadlines: “If you don’t deliver in your production role any missing footage, archive, locations even tasks could affect the rest of the episode, so always prepare for plan B! What I tend to do is make sure I have an alternative option in case Plan A falls through, you need to use your initiative so don’t be scared if you have an alternative idea.”

She also has very clear advice for recent graduates who want to work in the media industry: “Apply for jobs you like otherwise you may end up working on something that isn’t your thing and you may miss working on a show that you really want to do. Don’t be scared to turn down jobs if you don’t want to do them and always keep employers details because a simple email in regards to availability can lead to work.

“Starting from the bottom as a runner or logger is necessary and it does take time so don’t lose hope. Moving to London for work is something that you should be prepared to do, there is a lot in London for beginners and you have more of a chance in gathering the contacts you need.”

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